Brazil and Spain are through to the next round!
Let's learn stuff about them both, shall we?
1) Home of one of the great anthropological mysteries around. Where the hell did the Basques come from, and when? It seems they have lived in Europe longer than any other ethnic population. And hey, just like in America, their history is one of getting screwed by newcomers. We learned it from watching you, Dad!
2) El Cid is one of Spain's national heroes, which is pretty impressive, considering he was a mercenary who would fight for Christian or Moorish forces. In fact, the name El Cid is based on an Arabic honorific. He was the basis for Tick villian "El Seed", who used to call The Tick a "Big Blue Monkey." And thus, the origin of my moniker has been revealed as well. How very exciting for all of you. Do you feel like you know me a little better? You don't know me, man! Unless of course, you do. In which case, nevermind.
3) Spain has same-sex marriage. In a very Catholic country. Quite impressive. Also cool was how the Prime Minister responded to Catholic leadership concerns. As quoted by wikipedia: "I deeply respect all citizens' religious convictions, and it's true that there are many Catholics in Spain. However, while respecting the best spirit of the Church's doctrine, we must make the difference between civil space and the intimate space of personal conviction. The worst occurs when the two are confused. " Damn right, Spain! One of my few political outbursts, I promise.
1) It's big, man. Real big. Like 5th in the world big in terms of population and size. Which leads to some interestesting demographic information. Like, Brazil has the largest population of Italians outside of Italy. Take that, New York-New Jersey metropolitan area! Brazil, they a-kick-a your ass in paisans, enh? 25 million Italian and Italian-Brazilian citizens. That's a spicy meatball!. And perhaps it has been spiced with wasabi, as Brazil is home to the largest Japanese ethnic population outside of Japan. Take that, places that thought they had a lot of Japanese people. Wikipedia doesn't say whether there are any cool turf battles between the Yakuza and the Mob, like in that one episode of the Simpsons.
2) So, many people, so much different cultures coming together, so much booze and sex and Catholicism. Lots of authors! And I haven't read any of them! Perhaps miwacar can weigh in, as I believe he has visited Brazil in his unending search for hedonistic delights.
3) Capoeira is fucking cool. And it has a much more interesting history than I realized. Thanks wikipedia:
Capoeira was developed by the slaves of Brazil as a way to resist their oppressors, secretly practice their art, transmit their culture, and lift their spirits. Some historians believe that the indigenous peoples of Brazil also played an important role in the development of Capoeira.
After slavery was abolished, the slaves moved to the cities of Brazil and with no employment to be found, many joined or formed criminal gangs. They continued to practice Capoeira, and it became associated with anti-government or criminal activities. As a result, Capoeira was outlawed in Brazil in 1892. The punishment for practicing it was extreme (practitioners would have the tendons on the backs of their feet cut), and the police were vicious in their attempt to stamp out the art.
Here's a sample of the modern version: